"Mischief." by Jane Taylor (1783-1824)
In harmless sport or healthful play
He did not pass his time away,
Nor took his pleasure in it;
For mischief was his only joy:
No book, or work, or even toy,
Could please him for a minute.
A neighbour's house he'd slyly pass,
And throw a stone to break the glass,
And then enjoy the joke!
Or, if a window open stood,
He'd throw in stones, or bits of wood,
To frighten all the folk.
If travellers passing chanced to stay,
Of idle Jim to ask the way,
He never told them right;
And then, quite harden'd in his sin,
Rejoiced to see them taken in,
And laugh'd with all his might.
He'd tie a string across the street,
Just to entangle people's feet,
And make them tumble down:
Indeed, he was disliked so much,
That no good boy would play with such
A nuisance to the town.
At last the neighbours, in despair,
This mischief would no longer bear:
And so–to end the tale,
This lad, to cure him of his ways,
Was sent to spend some dismal days
Within the county jail.